It’s Time for Energy-Efficient Building Codes
By John Hickey, MO Chapter
Director Energy use in buildings represents the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (46.9 percent in 2009). Buildings use as much as 77 percent of U.S. electricity generated from power plants. Residential buildings represent a huge portion of this energy use, with U.S. households consuming more than 36 percent of total electricity sales in 2010. We need substantial and immediate energy efficiency improvements in building construction in order to stop global warming and move to a clean, renewable energy future.

A critical step in implementing large-scale energy efficiency improvements in buildings is educating cities on the need to adopt the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) energy-efficient model building code standards. Kansas City currently follows the 2006 IECC code. If KC adopted the more stringent 2012 IECC code, this would generate a 30% improvement in residential energy efficiency. This would not only be good for the environment, but would lower utility bills for consumers and boost jobs in the expanding green building industry. Improvements in the new IECC 2012 model code include less duct leakage in HVAC distribution systems; tighter thermal envelopes through stronger home air leaking rate testing and improved thermal enclosure systems; hot water piping insulation improvements; increased energy efficient lighting require-ment; additional information for homeowners (a certificate from energy efficiency testing) required by builders and design professionals.

If you would like to get involved in this campaign, please email me at john. hickey@sierraclub.org or call 1-800-628-5333.